October 24, 2014

Who Were the Most Productive Offensive Players in 2011?

December 29, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Numerous methods have been devised to measure offensive performance.  The most common are batting average, on-base percentage and slugging average.  Since none of these averages provides a complete picture by itself, a more comprehensive measure of offensive performance is useful.  Such a measure would include the following elements:

  1. The ability to get on base.
  2. The ability to hit with power.
  3. The ability to add value through base running.

The first two elements are measured by on-base percentage and slugging average.  A measure of offensive performance, which encompasses both as well as baserunning achievements, is Bases per Plate Appearance (BPA).  This measure accounts for the net bases accumulated by a player per plate appearance.  It is calculated as follows:

BPA = (TB + BB + HB + SB – CS – GIDP) / (AB + BB + HB + SF)

  • Where: BPA = Bases per Plate Appearance
  • TB   = Total Bases
  • BB   = Bases on Balls
  • HB   = Hit by Pitc
  • SB   = Stolen Base
  • CS   = Caught Stealing
  • GIDP = Grounded into Double Plays
  • AB   = At Bats
  • SF   = Sacrifice Flies

 The numerator accounts for all of the bases accumulated by a player, reduced by the number of times he is caught stealing or erases another runner by grounding into a double play.  The denominator accounts for the plate appearances when the player is trying to generate bases for himself.  Sacrifice hits are not included as plate appearances, since they represent the successful execution of the batter’s attempts to advance another runner.

Major league BPA for the past fifteen years are shown below along with the number of players with BPA over .550 and .600:

Year 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
BPA .463 .463 .479 .481 .468 .457 .461 .468 .456 .470 .463 .458 .461 .446 .442
.550

34

41

50

50

46

39

42

33

34

46

34

41

42

19

25

.600

15

22

29

30

26

17

15

18

13

14

15

11

16

7

7

Offensive production peaked in 2000 before declining in the early years of this century.  BPA in 2011 was down slightly from 2010, an 8.1% reduction from the peak in 2000.

In the 1990s, there were 14 individual .700 BPA seasons.  In the eight year period from 2000 to 2007, there were 18.  The highest BPA in the 1990s was recorded by Mark McGwire in 1998 (.799). Barry Bonds shattered that with .907 in 2001, the highest figure ever recorded, topping Babe Ruth’s best two years (1920 and 1921).  Bonds followed that with .869 in 2002, .818 in 2003 and .882 in 2004.  There have not been any hitters with a BPA of .700 since 2007. The last player to make it was Alex Rodriguez (.702) in 2007.  Surprisingly, Albert Pujols has not had a .700 BPA in his eleven seasons.

The .700 BPA seasons in 2000-2011 are listed below:

Player

Team

Year

BPA

Barry Bonds San Francisco

2001

.907

Barry Bonds San Francisco

2004

.882

Barry Bonds San Francisco

2002

.869

Barry Bonds San Francisco

2003

.818

Sammy Sosa ChicagoCubs

2001

.758

Barry Bonds San Francisco

2000

.745

Jim Thome Cleveland

2002

.728

Manny Ramirez Cleveland

2000

.726

Todd Helton Colorado

2000

.720

Luis Gonzalez Arizona

2001

.713

Todd Helton Colorado

2001

.709

Carlos Delgado Toronto

2000

.709

Larry Walker Colorado

2001

.707

Jason Giambi Oakland

2000

.706

Travis Hafner Cleveland

2006

.703

Alex Rodriguez NY Yankees

2007

.702

Jason Giambi Oakland

2001

.700

Ryan Howard Philadelphia

2006

.700

The yearly leaders since 1992 are as follows:

1992 Bonds .734 1993 Bonds .740
1994 Bagwell .768 1995 Belle .692
1996 McGwire .765 1997 Walker .770
1998 McGwire .799 1999 McGwire .735
2000 Bonds .745 2001 Bonds .745
2002 Bonds .907 2003 Bonds .869
2004 Bonds ,882 2005 Derek Lee .699
2006 Hafner .703 2007 A. Rodriguez .702
2008 Pujols .685 2009 Pujols .696
2010 Bautista .671 2011 Bautista .681

The benchmark for an outstanding individual season is .600.  Following is a list of 7 players with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title and with a BPA of .600 in 2011.

Player 2011 BPA 2010 BPA League Seasons Comments
Bautista, J.

.681

.671

AL

2

Second straight year at top
Braun, R.

.663

.535

NL

3

Filled the stat sheet
Kemp, M.

.647

.476

NL

1

Big-time breakout season
Cabrera, Mi.

.615

.642

AL

3

Consistently near the top
Granderson, C.

.614

.534

AL

2

Found power against lefties
Fielder, P.

.610

.555

NL

3

Had better year than Pujols
Ellsbury, J

.607

.361

AL

1

Found a power stroke

The only repeaters from last year’s list are Bautista and Cabrera. Bautista topped the list in both years.  Pujols had a BPA of .548, by far the lowest of his career, ranking 27tth among qualifiers.  Five other players had a BPA over .600 in 2010 but fell short in 2011.

Player 2010 BPA 2011 BPA League +.600 Seasons Comments
Votto, J. .657 .576 NL 2 Not quite up to 2010 MVP season
Hamilton, J. .653 .559 AL 1 Held back by injuries again
Pujols. A. .634 .548 NL 8 Down year would be career for most.
Gonzalez, C. .632 .576 NL 1 Not quite up to 2010 season
Konerko, P. .613 .551 AL 1 Another strong late-career season

Six players have a BPA over .600 for their careers:

Player Age 2011 BPA Career BPA Comments
Albert Pujols

31

.548

.641

Easily the best in 2000-2009 decade
Alex Rodriguez

35

.500

.617

Signs of a decline
Manny Ramirez

39

.059

.617

Great career down in flames
Jim Thome

40

.531

.615

600 HR cinchesHOFspot
Lance Berkman

35

.598 .602

Still a tough out

Ryan Braun

27

.663

.602

2012 season in question

Another list of interest is of players with a BPA of over .600 in 2011 who did not have enough plate appearances (PA) to qualify for the batting title.

Player Age BPA PA Comments
Brett Lawrie 21 .663 171 Looks like an impact player
Mike Napoli 29 .662 432 Can he do it again
Jason Giambi 40 .645 152 Still hits with power
Alejandro De Aza 27 .600 171 Pleasant surprise for the White Sox

Looking at the other end of the spectrum, sixteen players who earned enough playing time to qualify for the batting title had a BPA less than .400 in 2011.  Ichiro Suzuki narrowly missed this list with a BPA of .400.  Adam Dunn, with a BPA of .369 in 2011 and a career BPA of .580 would be on this list if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.

Player

BPA

Comments
Vladimir Guerrero

.398

Had 7 seasons with BPA over .600.
Omar Infante

.396

Third straight year of decline.
Miguel Olivo

.395

Only catcher on the list.
Robert Andino

.392

First year as a regular.
Danny Valencia

.390

Failed to repeat promising 2010 season.
Alcides Escobar

.386

A repeater on this list.
Gordan Beckham

.385

A major disappointment.
Marin Prado

.385

Down from .474 in 2010.
Mark Ellis

.382

First time below .400.
Juan Pierre

.379

Career BPA of .445.
DarwinBarney

.373

Tailed off in second half.
Placido Polanco

.368

Career BPA of .425.
Alex Gonzalez

.367

A candidate for this list every year.
Yuniesky Betancourt

.366

Career BPA of .384
Jason Bartlett

.364

Had .572 BPA in 2009.
Casey McGehee

.355

Season long slump from .473 in 2010.
Alex Rios

.353

Even worse than Adam Dunn.

Two players compiled a batting average over .300, an on-base average over .400, a slugging percentage over .500 and bases per plate appearance over .600 in 2011:

Player (2010) BAVG OBA SLG BPA OPS
Jose Bautista .302 .447 .608 .681 1.055
Miguel Cabrera .344 .448 .556 .615 1.033

Two active players have these numbers for their careers, although Manny Ramirez was active for only 17 plate appearances in 2011.

Player (Career) BAVG OBA SLG BPA OPS
Albert Pujols .328 .420 .617 .641 1.037
Manny Ramirez .312 .411 .585 .617 .996


Comments

One Response to “Who Were the Most Productive Offensive Players in 2011?”
  1. David says:

    The bases fallacy, alive and kicking, as always!

    There are a lot of stats, like wOBA that do a better job of measuring and weighting these exact same things.

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